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Williams embraces regional idea

By Denise Dick

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The mayor-elect's top focuses are neighborhoods and aggressive demolition.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Mayor-elect Jay Williams says he's willing to work with officials from Mahoning Valley suburbs even if it means he's not re-elected.
"I firmly believe this region will rise and fall together," Williams told Youngstown Rotary members at a luncheon Wednesday at the Youngstown Club downtown.
He listed safety, economic development and appearance as areas that may be addressed with a regional approach.
Although he didn't go into detail, Williams told attendees that he's "willing to risk not being elected if it means that four years from now, we've done something for the betterment of not just the city but of the Mahoning Valley."
Williams, 34, led the city's contingent earlier this month at a meeting of officials from several Mahoning County communities to talk about shared problems. Participants of that gathering, which was organized by Boardman Trustee Kathy Miller, talked about addressing the appearance of common corridors and agreed to meet regularly.
Williams told the roughly 50 people attending the lunch that he was inspired to run for the office that he won Nov. 8 through the Youngstown 2010 process.
Williams was one of the architects of the city redevelopment plan.
Emphasis on neighborhoods
He believed, while working with the plan and as the city's community development agency director, that the next mayor should embrace that design. It had been decades since people in the community came together and took up a plan for the city's future, he said.
Williams plans to focus on the city's neighborhoods.
"Not to say that downtown will take care of itself, but it will take care of itself more so than the neighborhoods will," he said. "It's imperative that we don't forget that our residents live in these neighborhoods."
Williams said he plans to be aggressive when it comes to demolitions.
Williams will be sworn in as the city's 47th mayor at noon Saturday at Central Square on Wick Avenue. In the event of inclement weather, the inauguration will be in the Mahoning County Courthouse rotunda on Market Street.
The ceremony follows an ecumenical service at 10 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Wick Avenue.
He will be the city's first black mayor and the first independent elected to the post in 80 years.